Ding Tai Fung was busy today and the wife and kid were hungry, so we decided to try Ling Long Legend a couple of doors down. Pictures of the food outside showed Northern Chinese dishes similar to Ding Tai Fung. We weren't expecting too much so our meal was a very pleasant surprise. We ordered 5 dishes.
1. Pig ear and celery salad. The pig ear was cooked until soft and tender, not left crunchy like some recipes. I have only had crunchy versions but this was a nice change. dressing was vinegar based which the SO liked more than I did but overall a pretty good dish.
2. Xiao Lung Bao. Only 4 to an order but the price reflected that. Each was slightly larger than DTF but well constructed and very tasty. Dumpling skin had good texture and filling was slightly sweeter than DTF and was made with pork and fennel, nice amount of 'soup' in each dumpling. This should please any dumpling craving.
3. Pot sticker dumplings. 4 to an order. Pan fried (menu says deep fried and we heard several tables inquiring about that before ordering, just as we did). Filling was different from the xiao long bao but equally tasty. Again very well constructed with good texture and juicy filling. Another very good dumpling.
4. Ling Long special dumpling. A steamed dish, 3 per order. The dumplings were topped in 3 separate sections with finely chopped carrots, wood ear fungus, and egg. Pretty to look at, quite tasty but too big for a single bite. All in all an ok dish but I will try other things on the menu before returning to this dish.
5. Hand pulled noodle with braised beef. The hand pulled noodles can be ordered thin like shanghai noodles or thick, thicker than ho fun, almost like italian parpadelle. I have only seen the thick version on tv and never noticed it available anywhere else in toronto (not that I made a huge effort to look). Of course we tried the thick version. I really enjoyed this dish. The noodles were surprisingly smooth in texture. I was expecting a little courser texture from the look of the noodles. But the noodle did lack the nice chew I expect to find with hand pulled noodles. A very rustic looking noodle with a surprising silkyness, and a pretty good braised beef and broth. I will be ordering more hand pulled noodles from the resto, but next time it will be Dan Dan noodles.
Overall Ling Long Legend definitely deserves a few return visits to try the rest of the menu. Service was very friendly and pleasant, food was really quite good and if you sit near the open kitchen, you can watch the chefs work. The only draw back is the bathroom which were single occupant and a little tight for space.